Still More on the American Association of Law Deans, Tenure, and Long Term Contracts

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For background, read this and this, two posts by Marina Angel.
From “Law Deans Dispute ABA’s Tenure Power” by Leigh Jones in the National Law Journal:

The American Law Deans Association has submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Education calling for the removal of the American Bar Association’s authority to control tenured positions among law professors, clinicians, library directors, writing instructors and deans themselves. ALDA has also hired a Washington law firm to represent it at a hearing before the Education Department in June.

The deans’ letter reflects a concern among many law school administrators that the ABA’s accreditation requirements have become overly burdensome and restrictive.

“It doesn’t mean that they should all drop tenure. It means law schools should be able to do what they want,” said Saul Levmore, president of ALDA and dean of the University of Chicago Law School.

But Susan Kay, president of the Clinical Legal Education Association, opposes the change. Kay, who is also associate dean for clinical affairs at Vanderbilt University Law School, said that the ABA has done a “tremendous job” of balancing the interests of all law school educators. Without the tenure protection of the ABA, she said, creative or controversial clinical programs at schools could be compromised.

“It would become a market-driven system,” she said. …

In ALDA’s recently filed comment, its primary assertion is that the accrediting council’s control over tenure is not connected to its authority under federal law to assure the quality of education at law schools. ALDA also argues that the tenure requirements “improperly intrude on institutional autonomy.”

Although ALDA asserts that the ABA should not have a say in the terms and conditions for employment of all law school professionals, the groups’ comment focuses on tenure for clinicians and library professionals. …

Read the entire article here.

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